Wetterhorn Basin Trailhead


Range: San Juan Mountains
Coordinates: 38.1111133, -107.552831
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Road Difficulty

Easy 4WD, good clearance recommended. 3   (0=Paved, 6=Very Difficult 4WD)
This is NOT the standard trailhead for Wetterhorn Peak! The Matterhorn Creek Trailhead is the one for the standard route on Wetterhorn. For this trailhead, the Wetterhorn Basin Trailhead, 4WD is not necessary, just recommended. High clearance required. On Google Maps this trailhead is incorrectly named "Wetterhorn Trailhead", and Hinsdale County Road H1 ends prematurely; the road continues past the end of the road on the map. Forest Service maps do not mark this trailhead, but it is the transition from road to trail on those maps. No bathrooms or other facilities.

Driving Directions

From the intersection of US 550 and Sherman Street in Ridgway drive 1.8 miles north on US 550 and turn right onto Ouray County Road 10. Continue 4 miles on Ouray CR-10 and turn right onto Ouray County Road 8. Continue 11 miles on Ouray CR-8, driving up countless switchbacks and over Owl Creek Pass, where the road briefly becomes Gunnison County Road 860. Turn right onto Gunnison County Road 860A, which almost immediately becomes Hinsdale County Road H1 (yes, you drive through three counties to reach this trailhead). From the turn onto Gunnison CR-860A drive 2.1 miles past numerous camp sites and open meadows to a spot where the road becomes rougher; 2WD vehicles should stop here. Vehicles with high clearance can continue another 1.5 miles or so up the now rough, rocky, potholed road to the Wetterhorn Basin trailhead. There is a crossing of the West Fork Cimmaron Creek about 0.7 miles up the 4WD section of road that may be impassable early season and/or in high water.

Winter Access

Status Updates 
Posted By: RyGuy
Info: TH is in great shape. Lots of recent road work and the parking area is recently graded. Most SUV’s should have no trouble getting up there. Fair warning, lot of cows nearby, so watch out for the stinky landmines.
Posted By: docjohn
Info: Lo and behold! The forest service has indeed done a partial repair on the 4WD section as of 8/13. The excavator was parked lower down on the good dirt road. Not only that, but the parking area is flattened (but not level) with a rock berm to close off the meadows from ATVs, etc.
I think they responded to the cattlemen in the area because at least twenty head of moo cows were loitering about, and everyone knows the cattlemen need to get their trucks into the wilderness! (However the forest folks will not listen to those of us who wish to walk in the wilderness! I have complained to various functionaries about lack of just basic care of roads over the years to no avail.)
BTW I think the mud holes will reopen soon because there was no drainage constructed!!
Posted By: MC.Ikema
Info: The 28 mile northern approach off US-50 is along a nice washboard free 2WD dirt road (County Road 85 all the way to Owl Creek Pass. From Owl Creek Pass its a 2WD road until the 4WD split. The last ~2 miles are along a standard 4WD drive road. The road reaches what looks like an old split. Theres a large parking area to the left by a red sign post indicating this isnt a road. The road continues uphill and slightly to the right. The 4WD bumps are immediate. I wasnt the driver but the creek crossing exit on the east side looked like the toughest part. The creek bed is wide so crossing in high water might require you to float your wagon across Oregon Trail style. I believe this is where the Subies parked (38.126843, -107.559716). I imagine theres a wizard out there who will eventually levitate a Crosstrek to the TH, but for mere mortals its probably not advisable.
Posted By: supranihilest
Info: The road up from Ridgway is very long and winding but all 2WD. Down low it’s quite a washboard. Up high on the 4WD section there’s some rocks and muddy potholes but nothing terrible. Stock vehicles (Jeeps, trucks, SUVs) should have no trouble with the road. The creek crossing is low flow right now and easy. If hiking the road go upstream from the creek crossing to where there’s more rocks and the crossing is narrower, pick your line and cross, then hike back downstream to the road again.
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